Jul
30

“Reactive vs Proactive” by Gregor Erdmann

“Intuitively, living proactively seems to be the best option, but what does it actually mean and how can we do it? Being an article on Aikido, it makes sense to start with its relevance to martial arts practice.

In every day training we encounter forces through the impact of strikes or grabs, and often we may required to stop or redirect these forces. Likewise, when we throw an attacker we encounter resisting forces as a result of their inertia. ”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jul
30

“Benefits of Aikido for Older Students” by Judith Robinson

“Aikido is a Japanese martial art using throws and joint locks to immobilize an attacker. The strategy of Aikido is to turn the force of the attack against the attacker. To do this requires training in timing, balance, focus, and leverage. To become proficient in Aikido a student must have perseverance. Natural talent may or may not be an asset. Like other martial arts, Aikido combines physical training with mental and spiritual training, merging mind, body, and spirit.

Watching an Aikido demonstration with its swirling, dance-like movement and seeing attackers thrown into dramatic rolls and falls, one might immediately conclude that above all martial arts, this one is surely for the young. Not so. I myself began to study at the age of 47, after a persuasive conversation with my son, who was training in a college Aikido program at the time. Under the guidance of a wonderful teacher, I have been training for 16 years now, and have discovered for myself the benefits of Aikido for older adults. Please let me share what I have learned.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jul
29

“The Thrill of Battle” by Nev Sagiba

When facing the possibility of imminent death in battle, in an emergency situation, parachuting, base jumping, swimming with sharks, in a stupendous storm, fire, flood, cyclone, earthquake, volcanic activity, war, or other situations of imminent risk and sudden changes, the body releases chemicals to help in the process of awareness, function and thereby precision survival action.

For some this is an exciting condition often misnamed “adrenal rush.” In fact, medically, the adrenals play a small part of a combined set of survival responses which include the pituitary release of vasopressin as well as other peptide hormones and endocrine secretions, forming suitable cocktails which combine to vivify and prepare body and mind for intense action.
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Jul
29

Brian Kagen pick: “Hakkō-ryū” from wikipedia.com

“Okuyama was an instructor of Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu which he studied from two people Kyoju Dairi Matsuda (Toshimi) Hosaku[1] and later Takeda Sokaku himself. In 1938 Okuyama finished his studied with Takeda and published a martial art text called Daito-ryu Goshinjutsu (The Daito System of Self-Protection), later Okuyama founded the Dai-Nippon Shidokai (Greater Japan Way of the Samurai Association}[2] and began teaching what he called Daito Hiden Shido(Secret Daito-Ryu Way of the Samurai}. Okuyama’s first Dojo was located in Asahikawa and was called Nippon Shidokai Ryubukan, in 1939 he moved to Kanda and opened another dojo called Dai Nihon Shidokai, this marked the beginning of the split from Daito Ryu, by this time Takeda was very old and his son Tokimune was still very young, seeing no place for advancement in the Daito Ryu school, and being a skilled medical and martial person[3][4], Okuyama began to form his own system based on Daito Ryu Jujutsu and Daito Ryu Aiki no jutsu.”
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Jul
28

Brian Kagen pick: “Security jujitsu, or, How to improve your odds despite your users” by Angela Gunn

“A friend and I were talking the other day about how people are by and large not just oblivious to, but downright hostile about, the simplest security practices — in fact, the simpler the request, the greater the level of grumbling. What to do, besides don a bandolier of tasers and a t-shirt that says “GO AHEAD, ASK ME AGAIN WHY YOU CAN’T MAKE YOUR PASSWORD THE SAME AS YOUR USERNAME?”

To cheer me up (yes, I have been troubleshooting a family member’s computer; how did you guess?), my friend told me about a corporate-cultural tradition at a firm at which he recently consulted. The rules around that office require that anyone leaving their desk log out of the system. And if they don’t? Their machine is fair game for co-workers, who by tradition go into the culprit’s e-mail and send out a “cc:all” message announcing that they’re going out for tacos, and would anybody else like some?”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jul
27

“The Kiai” by Hoa Newens Sensei

“HN: I began training in Aikido in January 1967 with Dang Thong Phong Sensei in Saigon, Vietnam. The year before that I studied jujutsu and judo with a bodyguard of my father who also did Aikido and who led me to Phong Sensei (now head of the International Tenshinkai Aikido Federation).

KIAI: What did you like about Aikido when you were young? Were you interested in other martial arts?HN: I liked Aikido because we did a lot of acrobatic ukemi (high fall, long roll, high roll, etc.) and I had fun getting airborne. I trained in jujutsu, judo and Vietnamese kung-fu in addition to Aikido.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jul
26

“Positive vs Negative” by Gregor Erdmann

“I mentioned in an earlier article, how using a positive mind and focussing on where you want to be allows you to glide past a punch and enter your attacker’s blind spot. With diligent practice you would have noticed an improvement in your randori.

Hopefully you will never have to use aikido on the street, and so limiting your learning’s to physical combat doesn’t sound like an efficient use of time to me. Likewise, only learning through classes at the dojo will have you progressing your aikido at a snail’s pace.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jul
26

Brian Kagen pick: “Help Each Other!” by David Shevitz

“At nearly every camp or seminar I have attended, Sensei says these words to us just before calling us to practice a given technique. I’ve heard the words before, but never really stopped to consider if my interpretation of them was correct. After all, I’m supposed to be studying a martial art. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to define helping my partner as attacking with as much focus and intent as possible, to ensure that they really are doing the technique and not just going through the motions. To put it another way: it was always my impression that the best way to help my partner was to attack as realistically as possible.

This year, at Summer Camp, Sensei expanded on this notion of helping each other. “Don’t resist!” he clarified. “Technique is to learn how to lead!” I was a little surprised. Surely, Sensei wasn’t advocating that we not resist our partners technique? The very idea made me concerned. If there was no resistance, how can the nage understand if they’re truly taking someone’s balance? Those of us who study aikido have likely experienced training sessions in which the uke just fell down no matter what you did. It’s very frustrating, because you have no idea if you’re doing the technique correctly or not. Worse yet, if you don’t resist, what makes studying aikido any different from dancing or acting? For the first time, I was really concerned that I was being told to go down a path I did not want to follow.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jul
25

Brian Kagen pick: “Alan Vann Gardner – A martial artist making a difference” by Paul Rest

“Alan has taught adult and children’s Aikido classes for over thirty years. In 2003, he was awarded a Ed.D. from the University of San Francisco. His Doctoral Thesis was titled, “Students as Apprentices in Caring – I/Thou Relationships as Experienced by Early Adolescence in School.” His Master’s Thesis focused on Aikido, “The Aikido Way: Inner Approach Movement Education with Children.” In both of these papers, he addressed how to integrate the principles of Aikido into his profession as an educator.

Alan is currently the Assistant Principal at the Del Mar Middle School, part of the Reed Union School District. He sees his role as “promoting a culture of inclusion, kindness and caring.” Working on developing a Professional Learning Community at school, the focus is not only on bottom line results, but on how adults work together to build trust. For Alan, Aikido is more than a metaphor how to listen or respond to conflict; it is an embodied practice that helps him keep focused on the bigger picture, the larger context and continually return to a poised, positive and more peaceful presence.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jul
24

“My Aikido” by Tom Wharton

“My teacher describes Aikido as “physically precise, mathematical movements, entered into through feeling.” For years I have vehemently denied being a “feeler,” preferring to access my world visually and analytically and, for years, my teacher has been trying to convince me otherwise. I am 5’6″ tall on a good day and tip the scales at 140 lbs., and so I have never had much success in using size and strength to compensate for bad technique. Being visual and analytical, I could clearly see that technique did not require size, strength, or speed to succeed, only precise application to uke. With this perspective, the first part of my teacher’s description made perfect sense and I studied Aikido as the precise application of waza to each uke, achieving fairly predictable results.
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Jul
23

New DVD added to authoritative “Lost Seminars” series by Morihiro Saito Sensei

We are pleased to announce the launch of yet another outstanding DVD by Morihiro Saito Shihan, 9th dan, the seventh instalment of the exceptional “Lost Seminars” technical series by one of Founder Morihei Ueshiba’s most famous students. Titled Morihiro Saito: Lost Seminars, Part Seven, this information-packed DVD presents never-before-seen footage of Saito Sensei as he appeared in 1994 while teaching a seminar in San Diego, California. With this new title, the accumulated seminar footage in the Lost Seminars” series comes to about 14 hours in length!

With a runtime of a whopping 169 minutes, “Lost Seminars, Part 7″ covers in great detail iriminage, kotegaeshi, and koshinage techniques from numerous different attacks including both basic and ki no nagare variations. Saito Sensei reveals the depth of Iwama Aikido in his own inimitable teaching style delivering an essential instalment of still more of the vast technical curriculum bequeathed by the Founder of Aikido.
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Jul
23

“Bullying, Consequences and Recourse” by Nev Sagiba

Every year a considerable number of young people commit suicide following nasty remarks directed towards them over the internet.

Threatening and crank phone calls can be as disturbing as emails and nasty remarks in cyber chat rooms. In some places the culture of bullying is more physical. This also is followed by suicides in some cases.

The old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” was advised to children long before the internet when other forms of bullying existed. Or simply “defend yourself.”
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